As you might or might not have read (*), first-of-their-kind anti-government (i.e. anti-Mubarak, anti-tyranny, and anti-corruption) protests have rocked Egypt. As many at 15,000 people gathered yesterday in al-Tahrir Square in Cairo with tens of thousands more in Alexandria, Suez, and elsewhere. Here's a minute of excellent video for you, to put you in the picture:
As you also might or might not know, the state of Egypt like the rest of the Middle East outside of Israel and Iraq is an autocracy. Ruled by dictator Hosni Mubarak for 30 years, Egypt has been under "Emergency Law" since 1967: This law extends police powers, suspends constitutional rights, and legalizes censorship. Street demonstrations and non-approved political organizations are formally banned. Some 17,000 people have been detained under the law, with estimates of total political prisoners as high as 30,000. (From Wikipedia.)
Alternate words on the street have there being a demo this Saturday at noon, which might be more of a goer. I'll post again if there's confirmation of that.
Could this be the beginning of freedom for the Egyptians? Stay tuned to find out.
While this blog by no means supports the Muslim Brotherhood which has historically been the only real political opposition to the Egyptian regime it is also not terribly keen on the U.S. government's execrable support for said regime in the name of stability, anti-terrorism, and non-aggression against Israel. (Though of course we salute and honour Anwar Sadat's heroic and historic peace-making with Israel, which he paid for with his life.)
But if you know anything about the Egyptian regime and their treatment (read: imprisonment and torture) of their opponents, you won't be very keen on it. And if you know anything about the history of al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad which you will if you've read The Looming Tower you'll know that a-Q #2 Ayman al-Zawihiri was radicalised in Egyptian prisons. If the Egyptian government is one of our allies in the war against terror, one can very nearly sympathize with our enemies.
In this case, the enemy of our enemy is or certainly really should be our enemy as well.
Freedom for Egypt.
Update, 6pm: Just got back from the demo (see comments). And the TweetSphere is going crazy:
And this has got to be my favourite protest photo:
If there are more than a couple of baddasses like this in the ranks of protestors, Mubarak stands no chance…